"Both Sally Ride and Rosa Parks made the world better for future generations of girls, said a Mattel spokesperson adding, "By celebrating their achievements with dolls made in their likeness, we hope girls will be inspired to pursue their dreams."
Now, children will get a chance to learn about two historical female role models while having fun with their playsets. Launched in 2018, Barbie’s Inspiring Women series features dolls based on women who have made a significant contribution in history which includes the likes of aviator Amelia Earhart, artist Frida Kahlo, and NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson. However, this year the iconic Barbie-doll manufacturing company, Mattel has announced their newest addition to their existing Women's series. Rosa Parks, an American activist who is popularly known as the Mother of the Modern Civil Rights Movement is being honored alongside Sally Ride, the first American woman (and youngest) to fly in space.
The dolls debuted on August 26, which marked the 99th anniversary of the 19th Amendment (or Women's Equality Day), which gave women the right to vote. "Women's Equality Day celebrates the hard-won achievement of women's suffrage and pays tribute to the trailblazers who paved the way for future generations," said a Mattel spokesperson according to CNN. According to the company's website, the series, "pays tribute to incredible heroines – courageous women who paved the way for generations of girls to dream bigger than ever before."
Explaining the role that each of them played the website reads: "On December 1, 1955, when Rosa Parks refused an order to give up her seat to a white passenger and move to the back of the bus, her act of defiance became the catalyst for the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Later hailed as "the Mother of the Modern Civil Rights Movement," Parks earned worldwide recognition and numerous awards including the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal of Honor."
As for Ride, it read: "In 1977, when NASA first began recruiting women into the astronaut corps, Sally Ride was one of six women accepted out of more than 8,000 applicants. On June 18, 1983, she blasted off aboard the space shuttle Challenger to become the first American woman – and youngest American – to fly in space. Ride's adventurous nature, the quest for discovery, and pioneering accomplishments inspire girls everywhere to boldly reach for the stars." Mattel "sculpted" these two dolls "in their likenesses of their real-life counterparts" in order to "honor these two pioneers."
Rosa Parks Barbie® Doll is seen wearing a floral dress which is partially visible under a "smart wool coat" including accessories like gloves, glasses, a pillbox hat and clutch. On the other hand, Sally Ride Barbie® Doll is dressed in a blue flight suit embodying the image of the astronaut/physicist perfectly. The pack also includes a cute headset accessory and a removable helmet which displays the American flag and NASA logo on it. Each of these dolls has a "specially-designed packaging that tells their stories and includes a quote from each of them."
Barbies have been severely criticized over the years for portraying an atypical and unattainable body type. Margo Main, a clinical psychologist specializing in eating disorders mentioned these singular attributes in her book "Body Wars." According to her, if Barbie was human, she would be about 5 feet, 9 inches tall, flaunting her 39-inch bust, an 18-inch waist and wearing a size 3 shoe. And so in the effort of making the collection more diverse and inclusive, the toy giant decided to launch a series honoring powerful women and celebrating their different features.
Speaking to HuffPost, the senior vice president and global head of Barbie, Lisa McKnight, said, "As a brand that is dedicated to inspiring the limitless potential in every girl, Barbie is shining a spotlight on role models, historical and modern, to show them they can be anything. Furthermore, she added, "Both Sally Ride and Rosa Parks are changemakers, so these dolls celebrate their achievements, while also encouraging girls to challenge the status quo." Also, a press release from Barbie read: "These historical women broke boundaries that made the world a better place for future generations of girls."
The fact that both these dolls were debuted on Women's Equality Day is truly amazing. Celebrate this amazing day by getting your hands on the latest addition which is priced at $30.99 each. Click here to buy.